It was the great advent of Abraham Lincoln which brought the uniquely true idea of democracy into reality in America. He specifically said that the government should be
“of the people”, yet today we find that most countries who call themselves democracies have been “demon-o-cracies”. They are ruled by people who are either money-oriented or power- oriented. Concern for the benevolence of the people, which should be the main aim of a democracy has become completely lost in modern times. It is simply no longer a matter of concern for those people who are said to be at the helm of affairs. Many people have claimed, and perhaps they are not entirely wrong, that America is nowadays no longer ruled by the people, but by the rich only, by big businesses, or by cinema actors and actresses. The rest of the developed countries nowadays, are also ruled by the banks, the entrepreneurs, the media and the underworld.
Thus, the idea of Abraham Lincoln, like the ideas of all great saints and prophets, has become completely perverted, as democracy has degenerated in our money-crazy, modern society. Whatever generous principles were announced at the beginning has vanished into the mist of violent, argumentative discussions at various conferences called throughout the world to solve the problems of democracies. The establishment of higher ethical values, which was originally meant to be the top priority in any democratic country, is now completely missing from the agenda.
For example, America, that great country of the free, will support, without any compunction or hesitation, any country that happens to suit the current policy of the current President. This is done regardless of the fact that that country may be ruled by a despotic person, who may not have the slightest respect for democracy. For example, it was America and most of the European countries that professed to be democratic, who manufactured and sold arms to Iraq which is ruled by Saddam Hussein. Thus, many democratic countries joined hands to make him very powerful and war-oriented, just because it happened to suit their policies.
Real democracy is only possible when people truly imbibe democratic principles and respect ethical values above everything else. People who are power-crazy and who want to make money by any means, cannot be said to have the right democratic ideology democracy cannot be managed by people who are greedy, of loose character and self-centred. Those who are womanisers, or who drink while they are working on solving the national problems are in fact the true source of their nation’s problems and of the whole world at large.
Politicians should be dedicated to the welfare of the people, but sometimes politics becomes like a game of chess, in which the sole aim is to stay on board as long as possible. The politicians do not want to leave their seats, to which they are glued, until they are forced to admit defeat. Until the last moment of their lives they want to be in a state of political intoxication. They only resign when one foot is definitely placed in the grave. Such low level people cannot work for a real democracy. For democracy you need very noble, honourable, learned and compassionate visionaries, who have only a benevolent attitude towards the people and total dedication to the ideals of democracy.
Where is the so-called democratic country whose governing people have the character that can sustain a clean and a righteous democracy as envisaged by Abraham Lincoln? In the Third world, where politicians religiously imitate the example of these great developed countries, they degrade the democratic value system even more. In India, for example, the people in power may not want to eradicate poverty, because they can buy the votes of the poor by giving them a little money. Or else, they may support a minority and pamper it to use as a vote bank. Thus we find in these underdeveloped countries, poverty actually helps’ to maintain this type of “demon-o-cracy”.
Nowhere in the world is there a democratic government truly “of the people, for the people, by the people”. What one sees in reality is people in power have no sense of ethical values and no concern for the people whom they should serve. Political power is treated like an investment which is intended to generate much more money, as it does in business. Abraham Lincoln, like any other saint, had his eye on absolute values and he did not know that people were not yet ready for as great an ideal as that of democracy, and that most of them would develop a tendency to stray off the straight and narrow path of dedication to the collective well-being and follow the broader road of self- interest. Those people who are elected to power basically need to have concern for the well-being of the whole and the wisdom to function in a spirit of service.
A benevolent ruler, in the form of a philosopher king (as put forward by Socrates), is the ideal person to be the head of government. Such a person must be an extremely wise, detached personality, without any desire for lust, power and money. There have been such persons in the recent past, people like Mahatma Gandhi, Ataturk Kemal Pasa, Anwar al Sadat, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Ho Chi Minh, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Dag Hammerskjyld, Mujibur Rahman and many others.
To talk of political wisdom in these modern times seems quaint. Wisdom, it seems, is out of the question, because rationality has long since taken its place. Relying on the limited linear logic of mere rationality, purely egocentric solutions are put forward to justify the actions of those in power (which of course have a global mutual appeal to all the other egocentric people in power). In this way, there is a fraternity of negative thinking and they support each other in their parliaments, assemblies or senates. This is why nothing truly useful for the ascent of the people ever gets done. On the contrary, the politicians of these democratic countries use whatever means they can muster, for their own selfish purposes or to enforce their arbitrary ideas.
As this licence, which is what freedom has become in a democracy, gives them the right to enjoy their powers to the point of misuse, they have ‘carried their freedom unchecked beyond all bounds and natural limitations. So that, not only have such politicians made money, and so distanced themselves from the ordinary people they are meant to serve, but they have been publicly and admiringly described as extraordinarily rich personalities in the money market. One feels ashamed to hear such a thing about people whom one elects with such great hope.
However, the time of reckoning has come, and their criminality is now being exposed. These democracies and their politicians have perhaps already reached a polarity state in some countries, while others are as yet slowly moving towards it. The politicians may come and go, but there is always somebody queuing up to replace them. There is no way to cut short this process of people arriving at the helm of affairs every few years, who might well be infinitely worse than the ones who were there before. Thus, most democratic countries have become, with mutual consent, absolutely authoritarian, racist and materialistic. Those who have not yet managed are aspiring to become so. Money makes the whole concept of real democracy absolutely secondary. Those who have money power can rule without any feeling for benevolence and the value system of true democracy. It can be easily seen that when money becomes God, all moral values have to be put aside.
In a democracy, of course, people’s votes become important. For example, if women happen to be in a majority, their votes in particular become significant and the policies of the politicians, who are concerned only to get into power, will be adjusted to suit the egoistical ideas of that section of the electorate. Thus women have a legal right to walk around half nude in the cold climate of Switzerland, where common sense and decency would suggest that they should cover themselves up. And in other countries, like France, women have the glorious right to carry on with immoral behaviour, such as running their own prostitution business, with all the allowance and favour of the law. If they represent a large enough electorate, no one can influence or control them. It is they who make the laws. As soon as someone has a vote, he or she becomes a very important person to be flattered and wooed by the politicians.
The Socratic ideal of serving the benevolence of the people does not exist any more. On the contrary, they criticise it by insisting that Socrates was not a practical man. All the great saints and prophets were, of course, idealists and not practical people. Most of the democracies of today’s world are under the thumb of people who have no honourable or moral ideas whatsoever. They discover very fast that power can give them prosperity and that this money power can whitewash and obliterate all their misdeeds and conceal the dubious business they are up to. Unfortunately for them, this false licence has now gone into their heads, like a fixed idea, and they go on behaving immorally, without any fear of the Divine, ruthlessly destroying the entire value system of democracy. They may carry on for years, as they did in Italy, until, by the Law of Polarity or by Divine retribution, they are exposed. But before this happens, such rulers unfortunately become models for the people whom they govern and gradually moral degradation in day-today life begins to create a decadent or dying democratic society.
As I have said, those who are elected to serve the people’s welfare should be evolved souls whose ideas should be like Abraham Lincoln’s or whose ethical values should be like Mahatma Gandhi’s. Perhaps the cynical political strategy of modernist leaders is to let people ruin themselves in their private lives. Why would the government disturb people in their private life? This is because anyone who raises a question about private lives of the people will not get a vote. The modern politician says that if the people want to destroy themselves, they have the right and the freedom to do so. So why disturb such political thinking? The strategy is common in democracy and communism. As long as voters do not try to dislodge those in power from the comfortable seats (to which they are glued in order to serve their own self-interest) the politicians feel very re-assured.
As a result of this demonic money grabbing activity, many other dangerous activities also start. For example the French unwritten law, referred to earlier, allows a housewife to be a part-time prostitute. It can be rationalised that a woman has every right to make money in whatever way she can.
It is also said that France is the eldest daughter of the Catholic Church. How can we explain this strange tolerance of immorality even to the point of justifying it through rationalisation? Perhaps the answer is that the Law Courts know nothing of dharma, but blindly follow Freudian theories and obediently accept the opinions of psychoanalysts when it comes to interpreting the law. Even though Freud’s theory has been completely exposed and discredited, it is still used in most democratic countries in judging the crimes of patients with mental problems. But Freud’s subtle influence on the attitudes of ordinary people in the developed countries is vast and always destructive. It is impossible to tell how much damage Freud’s theories have done to Western societies as a whole, but the worst thing of all is the way people have lost all sense of self-esteem, because of their acceptance of Freud’s revelations as if they were gospel truths. Now, under the constant influence of the media, particularly of films and television videos, they either casually neglect, or actively try to destroy, all those natural feelings of modesty and chastity that, in traditional societies, provided the basis of morality and personal and family happiness and well- being. Developing countries want to take to all these destructive methods because some intellectuals are saying that if you want to have economic development, then we must go headlong in this go-go culture.
For example, I recently read in a newspaper report about a girl, hardly an adult, who was constantly going out to cabarets and discos. Suddenly, the parents found out that she had become like a prostitute. What a shock to discover that they could have no objection, as long as it was legal, and she was earning well and paying her parents for her keep. Later the girl died of some secret (that is sexually transmitted) disease at the age of twenty one. Such behaviour might theoretically be justified in a poor country, but in actual fact, parents in a poor country have much more control over the morality of their children. Their societies cling to traditional, ethical values, perhaps because they have real faith in the power of the Divine or maybe they have not yet fallen into the illusion of money.
But in affluent countries, as we can read every day in the newspapers, parents themselves are planning the destruction of their own children, by allowing them to drink and smoke, and encouraging them towards promiscuity by fuelling their interest in sex with advice on contraception at a very young age and allowing them to watch films and videos, whose sole aim is to destroy the natural respect that all human beings have for sacred things. In such societies, there is no growth of maturity and no respect for maturity.
In affluent families it is even worse. The young people want to enjoy their freedom solely in order to ruin themselves. There is no effective control by the parents or the state to stop adolescent girls becoming pregnant or contracting diseases through promiscuity. They start off as golden girls with no brake on their freedom, and they end up as squatters, handed from one partner to another or in the hell of a brothel.
If we dare to analyse clearly the real implications of what is going on around us, it is very evident that the deepest trends in these democratic societies are aimed at self-destruction. It is not only that in Switzerland, Norway and Denmark people are competing with each other to commit suicide, but in every developed country young people are taking to self-destructive habits en masse. One cannot understand why, in the highly developed democracies, young people take so easily to what are really false cults, fads or addictions, (but which are treated as if they were a Divinely implanted right) like alcohol abuse or homosexuality, and which actually ensure their self-destruction. Alcoholism and drug addiction are known to be a sure passport to hell. And yet more and more people are queuing up for them.
All kinds of indescribable sexual perversions are leading to AIDS and other serious diseases. But how is it that when people arrogantly cling to and even boast of their homosexuality or promiscuity, they are treated like some sort of heroes in the face of the threat of AIDS? Death from this disease is now being presented as a glorious martyrdom for those great people who are marching like courageous soldiers to their graves. Why is it that such intelligent people are not questioning the rightness of these destructive habits? All human beings know what simple and natural decency is and they actually need it and crave for it in their deepest selves. Is it only because people from the developed countries are so consistently frustrated of this basic need that they are so anxious to kill themselves?
Even when it comes to enjoying themselves, it can be seen very clearly, for example, in modern pop music, that people in these self-destructive times are expressing their insecurities and frustration through disrespectful behaviour towards themselves, as if they actually hated and despised themselves. Pop music is generated by entrepreneurs in order to make money for themselves. By skillfully flattering human weaknesses, they are constantly pushing young people to get into moods which cannot create peace, harmony and joy, but which lead to very great turmoil within and a great sense of dissatisfaction and frustration that they try to alleviate with the next batch of pop music, which the money-making brigades conveniently churn out. Such an immature, younger generation, whose inner balance is constantly being disturbed by off-centered emotions, can on the one hand only become depressed recluses, who cannot form any real relationships, or on the other hand, wayward and violent hoodlums who are intent only on destroying the tranquillity of others. Is this what we really expect from the great ideal of democracy?
Modern democracies began to emerge in the eighteenth century, but at around the same time, with the advancement of science, the industrial revolution began to manifest itself. What we call industrial and commercial values were also generated by the advent of the industrial or technological society. As it is, science is absolutely amoral. It does not conform to the rules and regulations laid down for the human value system. Science is the knowledge of matter and matter has its own internal regulations. Unlike human beings, matter does not have free will with which to establish any ethical value system for itself. In pure science, which is amoral, this quality has been carried- over, almost without anyone noticing, into the practical and applied field through technology. Thus, industry and (in close association with it) commerce have become absolutely amoral.
When work is done by human beings applying their own skills in a fully human environment, work and morality go hand in hand. But technology and what we now call industry (which used to mean dedicated and productive work for the benevolence of human beings) have no built-in ethical value system and so are not subject to any inner moral binding. But the Law of Polarity acts here also and industries of the developed nations have now swung to the other side of the pendulum. It is because of the unrestrained development of industry, beyond the humanising influence of the ethical value system or dharma, that we see all over the world, but especially in the highly developed democratic countries, that there is a deep and growing economic recession. It is as if the machinery in all these industries has gone out of gear, because no one bothered to make sure that it was running within its proper bounds.
Governments are now trying to revive their flagging industries by artificial methods, such as manipulating interest rates, but also by cajoling underdeveloped countries or Eastern Bloc people, especially Russia and China, with the full persuasive force of Western advertising propaganda, to purchase all the unsold surpluses from the industries of those countries which are suffering from recession. So the poor underdeveloped countries, once again risk being exploited by these so-called highly developed democracies. It is a sad sight to see all the so-called great leaders, the Prime Ministers and Presidents of the developed nations, scuffling around the world trying to sell their goods to those countries which are still under the spell of imported goods. This is gross moral and economic exploitation. In Russia, many unnecessary American or German goods are being sold to a people who have very little foreign currency. All the junk which has not been sold in these industrialised countries which are undergoing recession, is now being dumped and is finding its way even as far as India. There are pompous visitations of political leaders, as well as great captains of industry, to try to involve underdeveloped countries in their own recession crises. But how far are they going to get? They are all chasing after the same illusory thing. Looking at this from the outside, one wonders how this recession is ever going to be overcome, because it has deep historic roots and the Law of Polarity cannot be avoided. The best example is Turkey, which has the best foods, the best clothes, the best ornaments and the best carpets, and despite this, imports all these items from Germany. Somehow, the German entrepreneurs have made the Turkish people blind to their own hand made products and very tasty food. In Turkey people eat German bread and German sausages. As a result, the Turkish have become very poor and are wearing jeans in that hot climate. This has to be suffered.
Firstly, with the growth of imperialistic ideas, most countries went about shamelessly spreading their regimes all over the world. They initially became wealthy by plundering, cheating and massacring the countries they colonised and they enjoyed this ill-gotten money for many years. Later, with industrial development, they used their colonies as a cheap source of raw materials and labour and as a readymade and captive market for their goods. But now industrialism has run its appointed course and the industries of the developed countries have started overproducing goods. This surplus production cannot be consumed either by their own population or by their former colonies because, as an offshoot of the colonialist era, the newly independent countries (where local industries were originally developed in order to exploit their raw materials and cheap labour) are now equipped with machinery which can produce all these goods at a fraction of the price compared to those of their former colonialist masters. So who are the developed countries now going to exploit to get over their recession? There are simply not sufficient markets for the products of this fake and amoral industry. But much more has been lost than mere markets for surplus goods. The casual surplus dresses have entered every market because they need not be washed and pressed. In very hot countries like Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Malaysia and many others, these clothes are worn with great pride. Though all of them smell, stink and get rashes, they are very impressive and fashionable, according to the marketing people from the West.
How long can they fool the developing countries with their marketing? With the development of industries, in both the Capitalist and Communist systems, gradually human beings have become the slaves of matter which has started now to dominate them. The most serious effect is that the value system of the human level has also been reduced to a gross materialistic state. Although the human being is in fact the epitome of evolution and potentially the master of all nonhuman world, it is nevertheless apparent that modern man presents a picture of a new kind of human being, who is dominated by matter, by his body or by his animal instincts. Things have become so bad that anyone who even talks of human values, or of higher human values, is regarded, and sometimes treated, as if he is a freak or a lunatic. It seems that it is simply not possible for people to understand to what extent they have fallen into the clutches of matter and their animal instincts. To add to the slow domination of human beings by matter, we have had great thinkers and scholars like Freud who have reduced human-beings to a mere sex point.
Why is it that matter rules human beings? In the process of evolution we have passed through various stages and the truth is that our basic and first nature is matter. We came out of inert matter into the state of living beings and then slowly progressed through and out of the animal state. Many thousands of years ago, in India, human beings produced highly evolved and sophisticated works of spiritual philosophy such as the Vedas and Upanishads, and Geeta. For thousands of years, people lived according to their noble vision of mankind. What we see in the modern world is quite clearly therefore a serious regression, a falling back of human beings from the higher state they had already achieved through their ascent. There is a film called “Planet of the Apes” which clearly shows what would happen if evolution goes into reverse, that is devolution.
Moreover, in most recent times, the two world Wars killed enormous numbers of very peaceful, good and decent ordinary people. This gave a setback to people’s faith in the natural goodness of life and the existence of eternal values. With the horror of modern warfare, millions of women became widows and children became orphans and all these warring nations were completely paralysed, not just in their industries, but in their moral lives as well. In the aftermath of these destructive wars, their future lives became a barren land without any hope of recovery. For ordinary people it was thus very easy to give up all ethical values and to take to a cheap and superficial life, of the kind that we saw very much in the decades following the wars, the sixties, seventies and even today. In cultural life, these years were particularly marked by the increasingly destructive attack of the so-called modernist trend on all traditional forms and values. Slowly, over the last seventy years or so, the general level of people’s awareness has fallen below its ordinary potential. For anyone who looks calmly and objectively at the situation that human beings have got themselves into, it will be obvious that unless we have achieved a breakthrough into a higher form of awareness, a higher value system, we cannot come out of this mess we have created by subjugating ourselves to matter and to animal instincts, and therefore, to our self- destruction.
And yet the democracies, these countries where human freedom is meant to be in its full flower and glory, are full of terrible inner contradictions which make this evolutionary breakthrough appear to be very difficult. Apart from this, in democracies, the freedom to criticise and mislead others is a matter of fundamental right. The real meaning of freedom, however, includes a built-in or innate sense of responsibility, based on wisdom and sanity, which gives no license for immorality, competitiveness and hatred. Real freedom exists to enable us to recognise our highest ethical nature and to serve it and develop it for our own well-being and the benevolence of the whole world.
But on the contrary, modern democracies do not even wish to talk about morality and compassion, because, as they say, these concern the supposed private lives of individuals. It is by distorting the noble idea of the rights of individual conscience that governments in the democracies have shirked their responsibility for generating a sense of self-respect and righteousness, both in their own populations and in the relations between nations. Whatever their theoretical ideas may be, they clearly cannot believe that there is really one world and a single community of all human beings or they would not have abandoned any pretence to serve man’s higher nature, as they so obviously have.
Added to all this there is a great deal of hypocrisy when it comes to the notion of public morality. If a top Minister or Prime Minister of a democratic country has an affair with another woman, it is castigated as a grave misdeed on the part of a man in the public eye. But men in the rest of the country can have any amount of illegal relations with any number of women of any character. The common assumption nowadays is simple: that there is no way of correcting or even criticising it. Since Freud revealed his “gospel truth”, it is taken to be self-evident that the majority of human beings are at the mercy of their lowest nature. But even so, a Prime Minister or a President must be different. He has to be a morally perfect person. This expectation at least, we might think, is something valuable. But this last vestige of a truly moral viewpoint is really just paying lip service to a defunct ideal. All it shows is that the perfection demanded of this single person does not penetrate, nor is it really expected to penetrate, into the society. Out of a false sort of respect for individual freedom, which may of course cover their own desire to do what they feel like doing without unwanted advice, those in power do not want to interfere with the private lives of the people. Now, with the loss of all sense of shame or impropriety, all these private lives have become social and public lives and all those societies, which are under the guidance of democratic structures, are suffering from the pangs of polarity.
They behave as if all the morality in a democracy is only for those in the public eye and the rest of the people are free to go which-ever way they choose, so that it does not matter how they destroy themselves. In the democracies then, by the operation of the Law of Polarity, personal or individual freedom is going to ruin society by en masse mutation and no one seems to actually want to do anything about this by striking at the root causes. Compassion is something to be talked about only, by the money or power-oriented religions. There is nothing they can or even really want to do, to stop the rapid decline of their societies into moral degradation and economic ruin.
Now the elected rulers in the West pretend to be democratic, but having become racists or fundamentalists, all they will do is not allow any person to enter their country or any goods from the developing countries to come in, as they sell better, cheaper goods, even though they have exploited these poor countries for years together as imperialists. They are simply not interested in legislating to curb the downward spiral of their people’s lives .. Moreover, they are anxious not to provoke social agitation or demonstrations by the people, who have been flattered and spoilt in their so-called individualism to the point that all they want is to lead a universal life – a life of the mass media and the false models they offer to the people. Such people popularise themselves with verbosity and could be silenced by many modern tricks, but as long as their seats are secure, the politicians are not bothered about what the common man is doing to himself. On the contrary, by giving this kind of absolute freedom to look after one’~ own private life, they pamper the ego and weaknesses of the voters because they never legislate to preserve and encourage morality. They are sure they will never have to face the anger and frustration of immoral people.
Another product of this license of abandonment is brutal, mad violence, because people have no sense of what is wrong and no fear in their minds, even for a moment, of the possibility of retribution. In Los Angeles, the City of the Angels, I was travelling in a car once and the driver advised me to close the window and lower my head. Only a week before, he explained, eleven people had been shot down on this street. I asked him what the reason was. He answered in American English ”’just for the heck of it”. Violence which is “just for the heck of it” can only be explained with reference to what those people who perpetrate it have imbibed from the attitudes of their families, friends or the media, especially from television, videos and cinema films, and from concealed hatred or covert racialism in the media.
The democracies allow all kinds of horrible films and videos in the name of freedom. As long as those films do not criticise anyone in power, they can perpetrate whatever vulgar, demoralising and violent ideas they like. The problem is that such films become models for people’s behaviour, so that all these imaginary violent and cruel actions have become actual and contemporary in our societies. The nightmare and the horror scenes have become realities in our cities and private homes. Those who can reproduce most luridly the full horror of contemporary themes, are given the highest awards by the judges. For example, recently there was a film that really became a hit about a man who was psychotic and a cannibal. The film was meant to entertain people by showing how he killed human beings and ate them. In any decent evolved society, this film could never have been made, or if by some aberration it was, it would have been banned. But instead of that it has been applauded and acclaimed by the critics. They may say it is an uncommon theme, but what a rare depiction of a person out of the brain of some one who may know people who desire to eat the body of a human being, even when they are not starving as in Bosnia. It has become a very popular and influential film because it won an award as the best film of the year. This is not to say that the negative and destructive aspects of life cannot be treated by art. Producing something contemporary, showing up the modern problems of decadence and disintegration, is a good idea, but the creator should also give solutions to those key problems of the contemporary world. If they are good artists, they can show everything in relation to the world of true values which are conducive to the well-being and happiness of human beings at every time and in every country.
There is a further problem with this idea that art can reflect even the lowest and most degraded aspects of contemporary society. If you show an extreme case of perversion in your society, human beings, especially in the West, will only note the filth, the aggressive cruelty of the villain and, far from drawing the obvious and wholesome moral conclusions, will actually try to copy what they have seen. This has simply become a conditioned response and, worst of all, no one is shocked any more.
There is a tendency, built up in the West since the time of Enlightenment and the democratic revolutions of the 18th century, that we should be free to absorb all the unrighteous, unholy, inauspicious, filthy and destructive ideas that we can find in every film, every book, and every newspaper, whatever the source. Somehow people want to take up the challenge to become the evil force themselves. People have now to decide if they want to stop this democratic derailment by understanding what must be done. The progress that the West is proud of is towards complete destruction, as human beings have the freedom to achieve heaven or go to hell and also they have the tremendous power of rationality to justify their doom.
Perhaps at first reading, some of the Western fundamentalists may get a shock. Some may get a shock but most will understand the concern of the Divine force which is anxious to preserve creation by the all-pervading power of Divine love.